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Environ Pollut. 2013 May;176:234-43. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2013.01.024. Epub 2013 Feb 26.

Modelling mercury concentrations in prey fish: derivation of a national-scale common indicator of dietary mercury exposure for piscivorous fish and wildlife.

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School of Environmental Studies and Biology Department, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada.


The National Descriptive Model for Mercury in Fish (NDMMF) was applied to a Canada - wide dataset of fish mercury (Hg) concentrations to derive a common indicator of dietary methylmercury (MeHg) exposure (HgPREY) to piscivorous fish and wildlife. The NDMMF provided unbiased parameter estimates and strong spatial biases in prediction error were not apparent. Prediction error was comparatively higher when sample sizes were small and events with high Hg concentrations. Estimates of HgPREY from 1936 locations between 1990 and 2010 averaged 0.09 ± 0.07 μg g(-1) (wet wt) and increased from west to east in a manner consistent with independent measures of MeHg exposure in piscivorous wildlife and conceptual models of aquatic ecosystem sensitivity to Hg methylation and bioaccumulation. The HgPREY dataset offers an approach to evaluate the risk of MeHg exposure to piscivorous fish and wildlife on a continental scale.

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